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Accolades for Qatar's free speech forum

Thursday, November 11 2010

Accolades for Qatar's free speech forum

The Doha Debates, Qatar’s unique forum for free speech, have been feted at the prestigious Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) awards ceremony in London, triumphing in the Best Specialist Genre.

The award was made for the ‘Hamas meets Fatah’ Special, screened in March 2010. It featured senior leaders from both factions meeting face to face for the first time after prolonged political deadlock.

Debates’ Chairman Tim Sebastian, who was also shortlisted for the “Personality of the Year’ award, paid tribute to the efforts of the Debates’ team.

‘This is a real triumph and a tribute to all the hard work and professionalism that the whole team has shown. It is richly deserved and is a crowning achievement for series six, which saw the Debates innovate and surprise our audiences in new ways,” he said.

The AIB said that their judges were impressed with The Doha Debates, produced in Qatar and aired on BBC World News.

“It’s an extremely engaging debate programme that tackles subjects that affect life in the Middle East, bringing students from Qatar’s universities into the studio to ask leaders from the region the most searching questions,” AIB added.

The category for Specialist Genre celebrates production that fall outside the traditional award categories. AIB judges selected from a record number of nominations from around the globe by “looking for the very best in imaginative programming - a fresh angle, a departure from the usual.”

One AIB judge paid tribute to Tim Sebastian as “amazing and doing a fantastic job; an outstanding contribution to TV in the Middle East and around the world.”